All of NihilCredo's Comments + Replies

Eliezer edited out his explicit resolution at some point before these updates began.

Noted. I think it's still a fairly accurate summary of his mental state, however. Edit: Half of Ch. 85 is still basically in this vein.

Harry would have to maintain the transfiguration for the rest of Hermione's life, or until they find a replacement solution. Given the extent of the injuries that may not be within his strength.

It does sound like exactly the kind of clever hack Harry would use to get an indefinite healthy lifespan, though.
Hermione would probably maintain it. Or maybe someone else. Harry should probably be doing this to himself, too.

A prominent pop-culture example is the Mass Effect sci-fi game series. Unless Commander Shepard's gender is directly relevant (such as during romantic subplots), he/she will say the exact same lines whether man or woman.

Over five years and three lengthy and ambitious games, I've probably read hundreds of pages of people discussing every aspect of the series and its narrative. The single time I can remember anyone saying that 'FemShep' felt a bit off was in direct response to the above observation; outside of that, she was wildly popular and often named as a positive model for the writing of female protagonists.

I mean, if I come out of this planet alive I'm probably not going to be fazed by much after that

My opinion of you has ebbed and flowed a lot, Eliezer, but one thing for which I doubt I will ever stop loving you is the way you can talk like a science fiction character with the most perfect nonchalance.

Hey, since Plasmon brought up chapter 62: can we assume that whenever the fic resumes, there's going to be a scene of Harry's parents visiting Hogwarts?

(I post this less in order to get an answer than to prevent the off-chance you forget about it and end up having to squeeze in a hasty explanation for the missing visit.)

Hmm, he didn't say "she's not going to appear until later", he said "that's not going to be apparent until later". This suggests that the character has already appeared, doesn't it?

(I might have guessed that the androgynous Voldemort could have been a female character in this fic, but I believe Eliezer has already flat-out stated that he's sticking to Quirrell = Voldemort.)

Ooh, well caught. Hmm, Tonks has already appeared...

Fawkes is male in HPMOR.

e: unless the "that's not going to be apparent until later" means that he will be revealed to have actually been female all along later on.

I would say a small edit is probably in order, because "as obvious to him as a Thestral" definitely doesn't come across as an ability that requires any concentration.

But I think Karl's explanation is a much better one and should be canonical.

1Eliezer Yudkowsky10y
Fair point.

The great thing about reality is that eventually you hit it.

Source: Andrew Sullivan in an otherwise fairly bland political post

More often than not it hits you first.

I'd first look for a multi-millionaire to whom to make the offer.

If you can choose, French shutters work miles better than roller shutters at blocking light.

Isn't this what curtains and shutters are for?

Yes, it's what they are for - but they are typically inferior alternatives for the specific goal of preventing light entry.

In Ch. 7, the Harry-and-Draco conversation needs to be toned down even further because multiple parents have announced their intention to have their children read this fanfic – and I know that revision is going to be controversial, but Draco’s current conversation is also a little out-of-character by the standards of the Draco in later chapters.

This is an explicit statement that the concern about kids reading MoR is what is prompting the revision, with minor considerations about Draco's character being secondary.

Strongly agree with this.

I have no problem with making Draco's character more consistent, and if Eliezer honestly feels that that should mean removing or altering his casual dehumanisation of peasants, so be it.

But I urge Eliezer to seriously ask himself, with all his strength as a rationalist, about this and any other changes: "Would this be sacrificing the quality of the narrative for the sake of making a very, very mature story superficially more marketable to children?"

And yes, I feel those apparently charged words are wholly appropriate: r... (read more)

Leading HPMoR's list of kid-unfriendly points: the question "what extenuating circumstances could make it right to torture an innocent person to death" is integral to the plot. Even if everything else that can be mangled into a toned-down version is so mangled, the result will merely be more artistically compromised, not more kid-friendly. On the other hand, the definition of kid-friendly keeps changing. The Hunger Games trilogy includes (somewhat indirect, but still quite clear) references to prostitution (both in poverty-induced despair and as a result of human trafficking), as the cherry on top of the whole "children being forced to murder each other" plot line. I would still suggest changing the rape reference for character consistency reasons. At least, Draco shouldn't think of it as "rape" - ISTR studies show that even real life rapists typically find some "she was asking for it" rationalization for their attitudes. MoR:Draco does an excellent job rationalizing pro-Death-eater attitudes later in the fic. A pro-rape rationalization might be different in that Harry ought to be able to see through something so appalling immediately, but from Draco's PoV there ought to be some self-justifying framing to it.
I agree, and will be more blunt: making that change strikes me as the kind of thing a conservative Republican Christian home-schooler parent would do to their children's books using Liquid Paper and an ink pen, rather than something that a rationalist — who understands that someday kids need to realize that the world sucks and human beings do awful things to each other — would do to his own story, which he has made abundantly clear is intended for adults. Eliezer should simply advise those parents not to read the story to their children, unless they're absolutely certain that the children are ready for grown-up subject matter.
I didn't think it was kids that that particular removal was trying to make the story more friendly to.

Those are very valid objections, but since the phrase "great works of literature like Hamlet or Fate/Stay Night" constantly causes hilarious overreactions whenever I link Three Worlds Collide around, I'm entirely supportive of Eliezer taking liberties for this purpose.

Yeah, Hamlet sucks!

Upon further reflection, I think the question of "how much of the pain/suffering/unpleasantness/etc. from a given even happens on the spot, and how much lingers on in the memory?" has an answer that wildly varies, even for the same individual.

The worst physical pain I ever felt involved a certain surgical operation, but it causes me no discomfort whatsoever to remember it; conversely, I once got stung by an unknown insect while still half-asleep, and the thought still makes me twitch and clutch at my neck. On a more mental level, there are a few ... (read more)

Regret management seems to get more important with age. The fuckers accumulate. One thing I do is remind myself, "I want to be the kind of guy who's cool with having done that." And, if possible, "It was an inexpensive lesson that it was good to learn." Do affirmations like that have any impact on your regrets?

Just because your memory is going to get wiped afterwards does not mean that your on-the-spot preference is worth any less than post-memory-wipe-You's. If you had a choice between being memory wiped, then stubbing your toe; versus taking a powerful kick to the balls now, then being memory wiped, I doubt you would sigh and spread your legs.

If you are gifted (or, in this particular case, cursed) with enough empathy that the very act of deciding to condemn a stranger to torture causes you pain, then I'm not sure you can concoct a hypothetical scenario wherein you can ignore said empathy while retaining your agency and/or identity.

It really does, though. post-memory-wipe me lasts a lot longer. On-the-spot-me only exists until he decides. Whoa, hey now. That's not just pain, that's an indignity. But you're right. (Apples-to-apples I'd take the worst headache I've ever had if I wouldn't remember it and knew there'd be no long term damage over stubbing my toe in a conventional fashion.) I wouldn't call it "pain," but it is an unwelcome experience. Beyond a the risk of retribution or similar consequences, isn't that why you don't hurt the people you can hurt? Aren't there experiences you would not call pain that you'd choose pain over? I get the feeling that I'm missing something obvious, here. I've got an idea why I was hesitating instead of taking the easy answer in the first place. I think it felt like a trick question and I fixed on the not-remembering part. It was so out of place, so wild that it just had to determine the answer. Like, why would you put that in the question if it wasn't what the question was about? Acting without remembering has to be irrelevant, it's just too damn far out of scope. I'm never going to appreciate it on a meat level and don't need to plan for making decisions with that caveat. Fuck that noise. Some skills aren't especially useful outside of the environment that spawned them.

DISINTEGRATING LIVE KITTENS is standard spell practice for schoolchildren in the Potterverse

Which spell would that be?

In one of the middle books, the Transfiguration class is practising Vanishing Charms on mice (I think). Hermione, being Hermione, progresses to practising on kittens by the end of the lesson. In Book 7, it is explicitly stated that a Vanished object disappears from existence. I guess, strictly speaking "annihilating" is more accurate than "disintegrating".

V guvax ur jebgr vg va gur grkg rdhvinyrag bs fubhgvat va fbzr rneyvre Nhgube'f Abgrf, npghnyyl.

Yes. And then he retracted that statement.

Same. The part about disappearing in Albania is from canon-Quirrell's backstory - that's where he ran into Voldemort's wandering ghost, so it's interesting that in MoR he supposedly went there before the war. The rest of the background recounted by Bones and by Quirrell himself don't really ring a bell with me, the closest thing I can think of is him needing "reconciliation" with the Lady of the House being reminiscent of Sirius Black and his spat with his family, but Sirius already exists in MoR and had a different history.

It might be possible t... (read more)

My concern is largely that Bones seems to be hinting that Quirrelmort is someone else, who was believed to be dead, someone who was thought to be a powerful enemy of Voldemort who went missing, which meshes with his spiel to Hermione. Presumably the person Bones thinks he is isn't Quirrel, since he's publicly known to be that person. Who on Earth is she referring to?

1) Those numbers are about American finance in 2011. British finance in 1991 probably did not have salaries quite that ridiculous. But more importantly:

2) As Dumbledore explains, it's not this rescue price that is the problem, so much as all the cumulative rescue prices Harry's enemies will now expect him to pay for each of his friends (not necessarily once, either... Hermione could well be attacked again).

Yes, those are 2011 numbers, but far lower salaries suffice to carry the argument. (If Hermione lives for another 170 years, she has to pay Harry just $20K/year to repay him.) Also, this plan does have her working in finance in 2011 (when she's ~22, she can't start that much earlier.) It does set a bad precedent, but I wasn't talking about that - and this exact situation (completely legal, Harry doesn't want to destroy Lucius) is unlikely to ever come up again. (Future challenges of this kind could plausibly be met by having a Dementor eat the kidnapper, optionally after paying the ransom.)

Unfortunately, Harry has just shown that he is both able and willing to overcome Dumbledore's refusal to offer concessions.

On the other hand, he doesn't currently have much in the way to offer potential kidnappers.

...unless a family member of someone locked up in Azkaban takes him at his word that he's capable of destroying the place. I'm not sure Harry would pause even as long as he did for Hermione if that was the price demanded for the safe return of his adoptive parents. The narrative demands of the story make that unlikely, though.

If Dumbledore believes that Harry's action told Voldemort that blackmailing will be effective again, shouldn't he now proceed to move Harry's parents to safety at Hogwarts, as Harry suggested when the issue was raised after Azkaban?

He may very well do that, but also remember that people ARE still up against Dumbledore, who DOES have his reputation intact.

I'm going to dismiss this hypothesis because I don't think Eliezer would be happy to have HPMoR's discussion threads taken over by the inevitable "How many Galleons is Person X worth?" disputes.

Worst comes to worst, he asks Dumbledore to cure some rich muggles with cancer who are willing to pay.

I think that the can of worms of why wizards don't immediately go cure world hunger etc. is best left to be opened near the end of the fic, if at all.

Actually, there's a fairly complicated question of why don't we immediately go cure world hunger. I mean, the production and logistics aspects wouldn't be very difficult compared to what today's industry can output on an everyday basis. I guess that it's 80% pure irrationality and only 20% politics.

The next time Eliezer puts up an omake page, he definitely needs to include this.

Hell, you could damn near make an omake page out of all the alternate theories we posted.

The math here depends entirely on what the "certain rights" Lucius has over Harry are. Were the debt a purely financial issue, saving Hermione would be a no-brainer. Did those rights allow Lucius to realistically cripple Harry's efforts to fix the world, not saving Hermione would be a no-brainer.

We still don't know, although the fact that Dumbledore ultimately went along with it suggests that it's closer to the former than the latter.

Re-posting it so you see it in the inbox:

Eliezer, could you please confirm / deny / decline to answer whether the fic is past its halfway point? Anubhav and I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering if I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

It's past the halfway point.

Well it does mislead, but since it's not intentional and the misunderstanding isn't going to cause any harm, you have no real reason for changing it - unless you find it bothersome you to clarify when it happens to come up.

Yes, he stated very early on (at least a year ago, I think?) that he had only read up to book 3 or 4, tried to pick up the later books, couldn't get into them, and so relies on the wiki and other references to know how the plot develops.

I do not know if this has since changed.

This is actually weird. How can he write such a good fic if he didn't read all the books, relying only in definitions in the wiki? If so, he gain two more points of respect.

Eliezer, could you please confirm / deny / decline to answer whether the fic is past its halfway point? I have a persistent memory that you did at one point state that it was, but I can't find that statement so I'm wondering if I just crossed a couple of brain-wires.

e: while I'm here, I was rereading random chapters and spotted a typo in Ch. 14: "Good heavens, Mr. Potter, do you think these would be allowed to students".

I remember that too. I can't find that statement either.

Someone who isn't likely to be Veritaserum-proof is probably a better candidate for this plan.

You're right, but I'd expect Bones to be Veritaserum-proof as well. Maybe McGonagall?

Reveal to everyone the secret of Dementors so that their animal patroni are no longer effective. Wait until the Dementor has taken out most of the room (Harry has already managed to resist Dementors without his patronus), while either protecting Hermione himself or encouraging Dumbledore to grab her and phoenix-flee.

Quirrell said that the best strategy against a Dementor is just to Apparate away, which suggests that, if the Wizengamot room has an anti-Apparition defence like Hogwarts, everyone who has neither a phoenix nor a Patronus (and isn't Harry) is screwed.

I don't think this is going to be Harry's solution, but I think it might be the best of the violent solutions.

About Harry's darkside. It seems new and weird that his darkside can be hurt by Hermione's plight. Last time he went over to his darkside strongly (after dementor exposure), he ended up in a state where he hated everyone he cares about and only came out because he didn't know how to respond to her kissing him, not because he cared.

This is in fact exactly what happened:

Without even thinking he was trying to flee inside himself, flee into his dark side, pull the cold rage over himself like a shield. It took too long, he hadn't tried to go fully into his

... (read more)

I've come to think that the 500 comment limit may be unnecessary. Sorting comments by "New" seems to be pretty efficient at putting the interesting stuff (i.e. the reaction to the latest chapter) in highlight.

Is Harry's guess at the twins' prank on Rita the correct one, and by corollary, are we supposed to believe that Quirrelmort couldn't come up with a hypothesis that basic, and/or that it had been that easy for the twins to successfully brainwash an adult witch? (And on a meta level: was it worth it to make such a hubbub with such a supremely, well, boring answer?)

Harry leaps to that conclusion before hearing from Dumbledore how difficult they are to create. Even if that was the method, there is still the question of how they managed to accomplish it. My hypothesis — as of several chapters ago — is that Dumbledore assisted in the Rita prank. He certainly had the motive, since he's playing the game against Lucius and Rita was Lucius's pawn. He also had the means (being incredibly powerful). Why hadn't he acted against her earlier? Because he hadn't been clever enough to think up a good way to get at her without inviting retaliation. So how did he ever get included in the twins' plan? Easy: he's in the habit of routinely reading their mind. Evidence for this lies in chapter 63: "It wasn't that the Headmaster had popped up out of nowhere and was staring at them with a stern expression. Dumbledore was always doing that." There's also weak evidence in chapter 12, where Dumbledore knows Harry wants to reformulate Quidditch (he could know via F&G via Ron). And in chapter 79, where he knows about the map. So: The twins are walking around thinking about how to implement their plan against Rita, Dumbledore pops up out of nowhere looking for some good gossip, sees their plans, seizes the opportunity. The exact implementation could either be a memory charm (maybe trap her when she shows up at Mary's room looking for gossip about Amelia Bones, Dumbledore's ally), or else Dumbledore could actually pull off the acts Quirrell calls impossible.
Yes. That was the point of the whole incident.

The twins didn't brainwash Rita, they paid somebody to do it for them.

Speaking of funnelling, am I remembering correctly that Eliezer recently said that the story was past the halfway point, or is my memory misattributing that statement?

It has been said that Hagrid would just be allowed to get a new wand, so if Hermione's wand is snapped she could later do the same.

Of course. He keeps the brave new world running. I don't think there are many takers here for the idea that Brave New World depicts a society we should desire and work for.

Which statement?

Most of the impact of rape is a made-up self fulfilling prophesy.

Lower than it was when I posted it, but it seems plausible enough to be worth discussing. I would now dispute the use of 'most'. observations of cultural memes, seeing how people talk about it with victims, seeing how role models talk about it, and observations of people dealing with similar but unrelated pressures. All of this is very easily screened off by closer evidence, I would like to see some more solid studies or more stories at least.

Assuming by highest likelihood that you're German, my reading of the relevant section of the criminal code suggest that it's OK for you to debate in Internet fora:

(3) Whosoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or downplays an act committed under the rule of National Socialism of the kind indicated insection 6 (1) of the Code of International Criminal Law, in a manner capable of disturbing the public peace shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine.

(4) Whosoever publicly or in a meeting disturbs the public peace in a

... (read more)
I don't see a problem, unless he claims they wouldn't have killed them eventually if they had won. The claim is "allies helped the nazis do this faster" not "allies did this and nazis did not", but I don't know anything about how law works so I'm probably wrong.

disturbing the peace is a catchall for "the authorities decided they don't like what you're doing" FYI. Long legal tradition and all that.


Expressing a controversial opinion doesn't condone being immature or disrespectful.

Beyond that, I have two questions for you:

1) How much confidence do you place in your statement on the impact of female rape in first-world countries?

2) If the answer to (1) is greater than "very little", on what sort of direct or indirect knowledge of the phenomenon do you base this confidence?

U mad? More seriously, you're right, I could have used a better word. Which statement?

there are better justified and less harmful ways to accomplish this than intellectual property law.

Such as?

To take my own field as an example, as one author remarked, "software is a service industry under the persistent delusion that it is a manufacturing industry." In truth, most software has always been paid for by people who had reason other than projected sale of licenses to want it to exist, but this was obscured for a couple of decades by shrinkwrap software, shipped on floppy disks or CDs, being the only part of the industry visible to the typical nonspecialist. But the age of shrinkwrap software is passing - outside entertainment, how often does the typical customer buy a program these days? - yet the industry is doing fine. We just don't need copyright law the way we thought we did.

How many cetera can you require to be paria before you're creating an implicit No True Scotsman?

It's quite possible, and indeed I find the idea highly persuasive, that while dictatorships may not necessarily cause all sorts of unpleasant things (oppression, civil war, corruption, etc.), they do make those unpleasant things much more likely due to more hidden structural flaws (e.g. lack of an outlet for dissatisfaction).

That proposition sounds to me a bit like saying "ceteris paribus, driving at 230km/h will get you to your destination much faster".

I have read about half of his book and skimmed the rest, and I pretty much share that impression. To put it succinctly, that man works a 4-hour workweek only if you adopt a very restrictive definition of what counts as "work".

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